Sunday, April 27, 2014

Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart


Pamela Smart's 1990 trial as accomplice in her husband's murder was the first trial ever to be broadcast 'gavel to gavel' and was the subject of relentless coverage and commentary in the media and subsequent books and movies. Smart had had an affair with one of the students at her school and was convicted of conspiring with him and three friends to murder her husband.

The subtitle of the movie is very apt - The Trials of Pamela Smart - for she was tried in the media as much as she was in the courtroom. Initially, Smart appeared to seek and relish media attention as she discussed her husband's recent death. But her manner soon turned cold and taciturn; her behaviour contributed to the public concluding she was an evil seductress who had led on her young lover and his friends.

The movie is not about whether she was guilty or innocent, but about whether she was given a fair trial.  Given what the movie unveiled, no TV lawyer would ever have lost this case.

The movie was a very interesting commentary on the power of media to shape a story. However, I found the movie was too long and needed further editing to make it tighter. Funny how seeing many movies in a row gets you thinking that you're a movie critic!!!

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